Monday, 29 April 2013

Album Review: Rudimental - Home

Home is what an album by UK Urban artists should sound like. Releasing music for a commercial audience doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice the qualities that helped establish you on the underground. #TeamUK take note. Although Rudimental’s rise to prominence did not begin with an underground buzz their formula for creating music that performs well in the charts but still bears artistic merit, is one that should be transferred to other UK Urban acts. This would stop Urban music from becoming the formulaic, Dance music piggybacking, US Hip Hop mimicking beast it is fast becoming.


“Feel The Love” is amazing; John Newman's voice is perfectly suited to it and almost a year after it’s UK release it still sound great. "Feel The Love" was one of the best songs to be released in 2012 and it gave the songwriting/ production quartet, Rudimental, their first UK Number 1. Deservedly so.

One of Home's most interesting songs is the Foxes assisted “Right Here”. The song starts off with a slightly Pop feel and you wonder whether this is the dreaded ‘commercial track’. But (thankfully) it is not, “Right Here” blooms into a beautiful Drum & Bass song. A wonderful mix of the Pop and Urban spheres; rather than pandering to the commercial audience this song lures them in with the Pop intro and forces Drum & Bass on their unsuspecting ears.


Rudimental gave “Hell Could Freeze” away as a free download in November 2012 and it was Best In New Music’s Song of The Day on its release. The song features fast rising US rapper Angel Haze over Rudimental’s interesting production, a blend of Hip Hop, RnB and Bass Music. While this song doesn't sound as good as it first did, it would be harsh to describe it as average and ridiculous to call it bad.


The way that "Hell Could Freeze" blends into the next song, "Spoons", is wicked and it would have been nice to hear more blending between songs. "Spoons" features a brilliant collaboration between two future stars MNEK (who already has a songwriting credit on a UK Number one) and Syron, the darling of UK Bass Music . This was the first single from the album and was released in February 2012. How a song this good failed to chart beggars belief, I think a re-release is in order! The sooner that everyone hears "Spoons" the better.


The production on “Hide” is quite good and the best part of the song is when the Bass kicks in. While it not a bad song, it definitely can't compete with the high standards the album sets. How fitting then that the next song on the album is “Powerless”. A song that features a brilliant mix of Hip Hop, Pop and Jungle - that has to be heard! In Becky Hill Rudimental once again chose the right vocalist for the song. This girl’s got a bright future ahead of her.

Emeli Sande is the biggest name to feature on the album and her vocal performance on "More Than Anything" is no less than you would expect from her. This song is surprisingly average compared with songs like "Spoons" and "Feel The Love". However "Free", the second of the two songs that Emeli Sande is featured on is a sure-fire future single and it is a brilliant way to end the album.


Another song that has a big featured artist on is Home’s third single "Not Giving In". It doesn't need Alex Clare as John Newman puts in a fine performance, but his addition is a nice one. The song has a similar feel to "Feel The Love", but isn't nearly as good.


With so many good songs it is surprising that “Home” is the title track, because it cannot compete with the best the album has to offer. I am not sure who the vocalist is as she's not listed on the digital version of the album, but her Soulful voice is probably the best thing about "Home".


Home is an album that draws upon all the various genres within UK Bass Music and it is good to see Garage getting a shining light on "Baby". A song which features Sinead Harnett alongside the genius that is MNEK - I need to hear an album from this guy sharpish!

The strategy of using relatively unknown artists (to the mainstream audience) is brilliant, as it means that the songs are received and judged more on their quality than who the artist on the song is. In turn Home will no doubt be the launchpad for many careers and Rudimental will look like geniuses for selecting to work with vocalists like Becky Hill. Turns out it was her on the opening track after all.


Summary
Home poses a curious problem which few other albums throw up and that is the difficulty of picking the album's standout song - because there's so many! Your money will be well spent should you chose to purchase the album. If only every album could be this easy to review!

To view a guide to Best In New Music's Album review rating system click here.

Rating
Avoid | Stream | Recommend 
Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith saved the best till last by making “Free” the last track on the album. And that is exactly the opposite of what you need to do, Home is an album that I recommend you purchase. Whether it's chilling, commuting, or getting ready for a night out there's something for all occasions.

Home was released today and you can download it now on iTunes. You can also stream Home on Spotify.